Independence Day: True liberty and freedom
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
Our founding fathers knew the price of liberty. They were under the yoke of bondage of the British. When they came together to ratify and sign the Declaration of Independence, they knew that they would be committing treason and would be hunted men. Who were these men?
“All of the colonies were represented in Philadelphia to consider the delicate case for independence. In all, there were fifty-six representatives from the thirteen colonies. The ages of the signers ranged from 26 (Edward Rutledge) to 70 (Benjamin Franklin), but the majority of the signers were in their thirties or forties. More than half of the signers were lawyers and the others were planters, merchants and shippers. Together they mutually pledged “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” They were mostly men of means who had much to lose if the war was lost. None of the signers died at the hands of the British, and one third served as militia officers during the war. Four of the signers were taken captive during the war and nearly all of them were poorer at the end of the war than at the beginning.” (ConsitutionFacts.com)
They were willing to die for the cause of freedom.
As we enjoy our country’s Independence Day, let us consider that there is a battle for the souls of men that continues to rage.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13
Our country is free. Will we be free from our battle with sin?
FREEDOM FROM TYRANNY
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
“Taxation without representation!” was the battle cry in America’s 13 Colonies, which were forced to pay taxes to England’s King George III despite having no representation in the British Parliament. As dissatisfaction grew, British troops were sent in to quell the early movement toward rebellion. Repeated attempts by the Colonists to resolve the crisis without military conflict proved fruitless.
On June 11, 1776, the Colonies’ Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and formed a committee whose express purpose was drafting a document that would formally sever their ties with Great Britain. The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer, crafted the original draft document. A total of 86 changes were made to his draft and the Continental Congress officially adopted the final version on July 4, 1776.
STAR SPANGLED BANNER
On a rainy September 13, 1814, British warships sent a downpour of shells and rockets onto Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, relentlessly pounding the American fort for 25 hours. The bombardment, known as the Battle of Baltimore, came only weeks after the British had attacked Washington, D.C., burning the Capitol, the Treasury and the President’s house. It was another chapter in the ongoing War of 1812.
A week earlier, Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old American lawyer, had boarded the flagship of the British fleet on the Chesapeake Bay in hopes of persuading the British to release a friend who had recently been arrested. Key’s tactics were successful, but because he and his companions had gained knowledge of the impending attack on Baltimore, the British did not let them go. They allowed the Americans to return to their own vessel but continued guarding them. Under their scrutiny, Key watched on September 13 as the barrage of Fort McHenry began eight miles away.
“It seemed as though mother earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fire and brimstone,” Key wrote later. But when darkness arrived, Key saw only red erupting in the night sky. Given the scale of the attack, he was certain the British would win. The hours passed slowly, but in the clearing smoke of “the dawn’s early light” on September 14, he saw the American flag—not the British Union Jack—flying over the fort, announcing an American victory.
Key put his thoughts on paper while still on board the ship, setting his words to the tune of a popular English song. His brother-in-law, commander of a militia at Fort McHenry, read Key’s work and had it distributed under the name “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” The Baltimore Patriot newspaper soon printed it, and within weeks, Key’s poem, now called “The Star-Spangled Banner,” appeared in print across the country, immortalizing his words—and forever naming the flag it celebrated.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
God has blessed this nation. Our forefathers came to this country to obtain religious liberty. They fought for independence from the economic tyranny of Britain. Many died, but God allowed us to prevail. Freedom was bought through the blood and women who believed in freedom.
JESUS FREED US
The Bible tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”. (Romans 3:23) We have a sin debt that we cannot pay. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) It was Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross for us, that paid our sin debt. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7)
Christ made us free from our debt of sin. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2) So we must, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)
Who is Jesus? Jesus answered that question in John 14:6. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Jesus gave us freedom, but we must be willing to take it.
INDEPENDENCE THROUGH CONFLICT
July 4 is Independence Day. On this date in 1776, the United States declared their independence from British rule. This caused a conflict. Britain refused to allow the American colonist’s freedom from oppressive taxes, freedom of the press, and freedom to govern themselves. The American colonists wanted to be free. A conflict ensued which the American colonist’s won. Independence through conflict.
Since the beginning of time there has been another conflict brewing, the conflict between God and Satan. Genesis 1 tells how God created heaven, earth, vegetation, animals, and man and woman. He also created the angels. Ezekiel 28:13-16 tells us of Lucifer (Satan), his creation as a perfect angel, his beauty, his residence in Eden. Isaiah 14:12-15 tells of Satan’s rebellion against God. Revelation 12:4 tells of one third of the angels who followed Satan’s rebellion. Satan has been in conflict with God from the beginning.
Genesis 3 brings us the first confrontation. God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan comes to Eve and tempts her with the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life. She takes the fruit, eats it, and gives it to her husband Adam. Adam knew what God had commanded and chose to ignore God. The first sin. An animal is sacrificed and blood atonement is made for Adam and Eve. God has given men and women a free will to choose to follow or reject Him.
Genesis 3:15 tells us of the coming Redeemer Jesus Christ who died on the cross to be the once for all sacrifice for man’s sin.
This conflict is playing out for the souls of men and women. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 states, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This is Satan and his fallen angels (demons) in conflict with men and women.
Who wins? God does at the cross of Calvary. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Whose side of the conflict are you on? Whose would you like to be on?
True freedom comes from Jesus Christ
Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death
Jesus has overcome Satan